Three Montclair High School rising juniors will cap off a hard-fought nationwide campaign calling for a female presidential debate moderator by delivering 130,000 signatures in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
The three students—Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel, and Elena Tsemberis—launched the campaign earlier this year as part of a civics assignment focused on getting students engaged and active in politics.
Over the last few months, the students collected more than 130,000 signatures on their Change.org petitions calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates to appoint a woman moderator for one of three 2012 U.S. presidential debates. No woman has moderated a debate between candidates for the U.S. presidency since 1992.
The students will deliver their petitions directly to the Commission and will also deliver petitions directly to the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, urging both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney to support their call.
"For two decades to pass without a woman moderating a presidential debate is shameful. Both the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two presidential candidates should recognize this historic opportunity and make sure that women are given a voice during the 2012 debates," Axelrod said.
Tsemberis added: "Visibility equals equality in many ways, and by supporting the call for a woman moderator, both presidential campaigns and the Commission can send a strong message that they value the input and wisdom of women."
The Commission recently announced that moderators will not be named until August.
"This is the perfect moment for us to take our message to the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two campaigns," said Siegel.
ABC News’ Carole Simpson was the last person to moderate a presidential debate, in 1992. In the two decades since, Gwen Ifill (PBS) has moderated two vice presidential debates, but all U.S. presidential debates have been moderated by male journalists.